Friday, 21 February 2020
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$500k low-interest loans for bushfire affected businesses

Concessional loans of up to $500,000 could be available to small businesses that were affected by bushfires in the Scenic Rim.

The Scenic Rim region, which suffered through more than three months of bushfires late last year, is categorised as a 'bushfire affected' local government area and businesses will only have access to the $500,000 loans rather than the full package offered to areas categorised as ‘disaster affected’ which includes $50,000 grants.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the package deals with the challenges small businesses in bushfire affected areas are facing.

A number of the options made available to businesses in some of the worst affected areas include: grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, a dedicated and single contact point to help them access the support that is available, and financial counselling services.

“With our initial response in place with the Defence Force on the ground, more than $50 million worth of cash payments already flowing to families and businesses, $75,000 grants on offer for farmers and a $76 million tourism rebuild underway, we want to ensure the right support is in place for small businesses as they get past the initial recovery phase of this unprecedented bushfire crisis,” Mr Morrison said.

The decision to widen the reach of the recovery funding could blow out the emergency funding beyond the extra $2 billion announced two weeks ago.

Businesses that have suffered a significant loss of revenue or assets would be eligible for loans up to $500,000 with an interest rate half the ten-year Commonwealth government bond rate at 0.6%.

Like much of the other disaster funding, it would be managed through state governments, which would have to decide whether the package would be provided to the affected people and businesses in the state.

Among the announcements made on Sunday night, was a dedicated support line staffed by financial councillors, local economic development plans to help rebuild and tax relief for disaster declared areas.

Federal Minister for Small and Family Business, Michaelia Cash, said the support was critical for small businesses and communities on the way to recovering.